Break It Like Beckham (Andrew)

David Beckham is famous for many things. Whether it scoring from the half way line; getting sent off against Argentina; wearing pants for cash; starring in ads about Qatar for cash; or just being David Beckham (and not Sir David) for cash, he’s done so many things it’s hard to pick out just the one thing to remember him for. 

However, if I had to choose, the one thing I remember about David Beckham is that no one ever broke a foot until David Beckham broke his foot. Which is strange. He plays FOOTball. He’s a FOOTballer. He kicks the ball with his FOOT. But, until he broke his foot in the run up to the 2002 World Cup, no one had ever heard of the word “metatarsal”, yet, afterwards it become a common football injury and every club has a player with a broken metarsal, which, if you don’t know, is the bones that go from the base of the toes back towards the arch of the foot. The metatarsal bones form the weight-bearing part of the foot.

So, thanks, David Beckham, you not only married a Spice Girl, you also invented a whole new field of sporting injury. It should really be called the Beckham bones, in honour of the great man himself.

I say all this because last month I had an emergency visit to Hampden Sports Clinic who confirmed that I was just like David Beckham. “One of the most handsome men on the planet?” I asked. “No,” they said, “you have a metatarsal injury.”

I’d been on holiday and had missed my long run on Easter Sunday and had ran instead on Easter Monday. I’m training for an ultra marathon in August and have been gradually increasing my miles run each week. Last month I was running 12 miles as my longest run of the week, which I did, only to find myself unable to walk a few hours later.

Every time I tried to place weight on my left foot I could feel a dull pain stretching from my middle toe around the left hand side of my foot and down to my heel.

I did what all athletes do in these circumstances. I walked three miles to try and walk it off. 

It didn’t work. 

So I tried my back up plan. I left it overnight and then tried walking three miles again. That didn’t work either. Onto plan C. Speak to a specialist. 

I booked into the Hampden Sports Clinic to speak to a podiatrist. And he confirmed that I was on the right track – as he made me walk back and forth along a corridor, which was shorter than three miles, but he did say “this is to see if it still hurts”.

He then made me run on a treadmill. “Does this hurt?” He asked. “No,” I said. So he turned up the speed until it did. 

Then he poked at various points on my foot again asking “Does this hurt?” and I couldn’t help thinking it would be much nicer if he said “Is this okay?” to confirm a positive rather than a negative. But medical professional prefer to know when they’re causing pain rather than when they are helping. Dicks. 

After an hour he proclaimed that I had a stress injury, that it was unlikely to be muscular or a fracture and that I should stop running or two weeks and then try again to see if it hurts. 

Two weeks was frustrating but better to take two weeks off than to develop a worse injury later. And, thanks to David Beckham, I have a far cooler sounding metatarsal injury rather than the old fashioned and very uncool name of “tippy toe injury”.

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